Just like a carpenter has a box of tools, each appropriate for a certain job, we speakers have access to a presentation tool kit filled with things that can help us to better communicate our message and engage our audiences.
Some of these tools are techniques we draw on like eye contact, body language, stories and voice inflection. And some of the tools are actual products that we can use to enhance and enliven our presentations.
Here are a couple cool products I've come across recently:
PollToGo is a web and mobile application that allows you to quickly and easily create a short poll, have your audience respond and share the results, all by using cell phones (even older ones), smart phones, tablets or laptops instead of dedicated voting devices.
Using a very simple interface, you can create the poll(s) in advance, choosing the type of poll (yes/no, rating, multiple choice, text response) and the duration of the poll (from 1 minute to no limit). Or for even greater audience involvement, you could create the poll during your presentation with the audience suggesting the questions. You then provide the audience with a short URL that they type into their web browser or a QR code that can be scanned by smartphones. Once everyone has voted, you can display the results on a screen and also allow the audience to see the results on their own devices.
At this time, a poll with up to 20 votes is free. You can buy credits for more votes (200 votes for 99 cents) if you have a larger audience.
PollToGo is a great way to take your audience's pulse on an issue, solicit suggestions or use the audience's opinions to reinforce some of the content of your presentation. And since it's so easy to use, you can ask the audience's views several times throughout your presentation to maximize their engagement. ::www.polltogo.com::
Diagrammer is a brilliant new offering from the queen of visual storytelling for business presentations, Nancy Duarte of Durate Design. Diagrammer offers 4,000 diagrams that "convey variations on key concepts and messages commonly used in presentations and talks."
No more cobbling together PowerPoint shapes for your presentation or foregoing a chart or diagram because it's too difficult or time consuming to create. According to Duarte, "Diagrammer is a unique visual taxonomy that enables communicators to understand their ideas in a more nuanced and accurate way, and guides them to find more evocative and harder-hitting means of conveying their messages."
The diagrams are arranged in five categories, based on the type of relationship(s) you want to show: Flow/Movement; Join/Interconnection; Network; Segment; and Stack. Within each category there are numerous variations to choose from.
Each diagram is 99 cents and, once purchased, may be downloaded into PowerPoint or Keynote and customized as necessary. There is also a robust tutorial and Help section to assist you with changes and customization. ::www.diagrammer.com::
In your never-ending quest to make your presentations more interesting and impactful for your audiences, consider whether one of these tools would be a useful addition to your presentation toolbox.
flickr/ChewyHooey C.C. 2.0